Four tentacles stick out of a churning nucleus of multicolored fluid. Plates of rock and metal orbit the floating mass.
Khardajeen CR 14
Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee 4 tentacles +19 (1d8+4)
Ranged manifest gem +23 touch (6d6/19–20, see text)
Special Attacks powerful tentacles, ray mastery
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 14th; concentration +23)
Str 18, Dex 25, Con 22, Int 19, Wis 22, Cha 29
Base Atk +15; CMB +19; CMD 36
Feats Combat Casting, Combat Expertise, Critical Focus, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Critical (ray), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Point-Blank Shot, Spell Penetration, Weapon Focus (ray)
Skills Fly +30, Intimidate +32, Knowledge (arcana) +27, Knowledge (dungeoneering, geography) +24, Perception +29, Spellcraft +27, Use Magic Device +29
Languages Aklo, Azlanti, Terran, Undercommon (can’t speak any language)
SQ manifest gems, no breath
Darkvision Adaptation (Ex)
A creature using darkvision has a 50% miss chance when targeting a khardajeen.
Creatures using regular sight or other means of vision or detection do not take this penalty.
Manifest Gems (Su)
As a swift action, a khardajeen can turn some of its liquid body into a hardened, gemlike structure.
These gems appear at the ends of its four tentacles. A manifested gem lasts indefinitely, or until dismissed as a swift action. Manifested gems have a hardness of 10, 25 hit points, and AC 22. A destroyed gem cannot be reformed for 1 round. A manifested gem grants the khardajeen an ability based on its coloration. Only one gem of each color can be manifested at a time. Manifested gems are otherwise treated as ongoing spell effects, counting as 6th-level spells. The khardajeen is considered caster level 14th for the purposes of its gem abilities.
- Blue—While manifested, this gem grants the ability to shoot a ray as a ranged touch attack against a creature within 120 feet. A creature struck by the ray takes 6d6 points of cold damage.
- Dusty Rose—While manifested, this gem grants a +4 insight bonus to AC.
- Green—As per blue, but deals 6d6 points of acid damage.
- Orange—While this gem is manifested, ray attacks with manifested gems deal an additional 1d6 points of damage.
- Pale Lavender—While manifested, this gem can absorb a single spell of 6th level or lower as an immediate action.
- It then dulls for 1d4 rounds. While dulled, this gem cannot be dismissed and cannot absorb spells.
- Pearly White—While manifested, this gem grants fast healing 5. It also grants resistance 10 against energy types associated with manifested red, green, blue, or topaz gems.
- Red—As per blue, but deals 6d6 points of fire damage.
- Topaz—As per blue, but deals 6d6 points of electricity damage.
Powerful Tentacles (Ex)
A khardajeen’s tentacles are primary natural attacks.
Ray Mastery (Ex)
A khardajeen can make as many ranged attacks in a round as it has manifested gems that provide ray attacks, to a maximum of four. Ranged ray attacks from manifested gems do not provoke attacks of opportunity. A tentacle making a ray attack in a round cannot be used to make a melee attack.
Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair, or a disassembly (3–12)
Treasure incidental (1d4+1 dull gray ioun stones)
The true name of these creatures is a long-forgotten mystery. The name “khardajeen” is rough and ancient Dwarven for something akin to “scourge of the deep.” These aberrant creatures silently float throughout the tunnels of the Deeplands. They are attracted to sites of great antiquity, particularly the treasure troves of dwarven Deeplands kingdoms and the deeper depths. A khardajeen is a shifting mass of gray flesh and thick, multicolored blood that stretches roughly 6 feet tall and weighs approximately 250 pounds.
Khardajeens appear as little more than rock and metal orbiting an exposed liquid core. Some mental force ensures their liquid interiors do not spill out, while tentacles of blood allow them basic manipulation.
They’re renowned for their innate ability to form crystalline gems atop their tentacles. These gems are believed to imitate the properties of the magical ioun stones, leading some to believe that these creatures are related to the ancient Azlanti or even aboleths.
The ability to obfuscate darkvision is one of the khardajeens’ unique adaptations. This natural effect causes visual distortions when viewing khardajeens with darkvision, granting the aberrations an incredible advantage when facing other Deeplands foes. As a result, surface-dwelling species with magical or natural light sources have an easier time hunting khardajeens than the natural inhabitants of the Deeplands. Whether khardajeens evolved this adaptation over their millennia of wandering in the dark or as an augmentation selected by their mysterious creators is entirely unknown.
Most scholars who’ve studied khardajeens believe that their survival is connected to their pearly white manifested gems. These gems reinvigorate the creatures, replenishing any life-sustaining fluids lost in the rigors of combat and healing other damage taken. Khardajeens don’t breathe or sleep, allowing them to be constantly active. Those not under any immediate compulsion might enter a state of torpor; such khardajeens harden their blood into a fleshlike compound, making them resemble a roughly human-sized ball of mottled, purple skin.
Habitat and Society
The history of khardajeens is an enigma, and none make any claim on their creation. There is one imperative that seems to drive khardajeens: seeking out ancient artifacts. Khardajeens are innately attracted to the presence and use of magical devices associated with primordial Deeplands empires, particularly the aboleths, the dwarves, and the Vault Builders.
Khardajeens rarely work in tandem, though they occasionally cross paths and awkwardly travel together, attracted by similar, inscrutable goals—but without any true allegiance or ability to communicate. A conglomeration of khardajeens is known as a disassembly, for they gather in such numbers only to tear down great works or destroy historically significant objects.
Khardajeens have an odd relationship with the Deeplands species known as delvers.
Khardajeens can’t create their own tunnels— save for very slowly, using their manifested rays—so they rely on delvers to facilitate their travels. How such a union occurs is inexplicable, but many khardajeens silently float behind the ravenous, cavern-digging delvers, waiting until they reach some forgotten Deeplands chamber. After the delver completes a tunnel, the khardajeen abandons it and continues its own journey without incident.
Munavris wage an ongoing conflict against khardajeens. The aberrations glide up from beneath the Sightless Sea to assail the munavris’ island cities. The munavri-held region of Beryl Island sees the greatest frequency of these attacks, and dozens of gallant munavris have sacrificed themselves to stymie the khardajeens’ advance. The khardajeens concentrate their erratic efforts on pushing into the most secure area of the munavris’ holdings. Attackers have yet to enter the mythical city, but it’s only a matter of time before one of the aberrations closes in on whatever draws their attention.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #118: Siege of Stone © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Thurston Hillman, with Paris Crenshaw, Crystal Frasier, Patchen Mortimer, and Kalervo Oikarinen.